A review of the website www.fac51thehacienda.com.
A good friend of mine suffered a psychotic episode in the late 1980s, during which he would ring up The Hacienda on the phone. He didn’t want to speak to anyone who worked there; he was interested in speaking to the club itself. He believed it was more than just a building… it was some kind of sentient entity. This seemed obvious to him on account of the spell it cast over so many people in Manchester at the time. I tried to persuade him that although he had a point, about The Hacienda having an unusual effect on people, it was just a building and it couldn’t possibly talk on the phone.
I find the website www.fac51thehacienda.com just as disconcerting as those conversations with my friend over twenty years ago. His conviction that The Hacienda was more than just a building is clearly shared by the owners of the website… and they seem equally confused about how this might work in practice.
What exactly is www.fac51thehacienda.com? Is it a showcase for a company or a brand? Is it a history website? Is it a round-up of projects run by people linked to the old club? Or is it a collection of men with beards?
Another friend took one look at it and summed it up very simply: ‘They’re trying to sell you stuff.’
Under the heading ’25th April Hacienda Records – Fac51 The Hacienda’s new digital download label’ I found the following:
“Originally formed as an outlet for the work of Peter Hook and his various projects, the site brings together all the Man Ray and Freebass releases from 2010….tracks are available to preview and purchase here.”
So Peter Hook is behind the website and my friend was right – it does seem to be a shop.
The site broadly covers three areas:
1) The history of The Hacienda nightclub (1982-97) and associated merchandise. (Buy a mug.)
2) ‘Hacienda Nights’ held recently in various venues. (Book Hooky as a DJ.)
3) Peter Hook’s post-2005 music projects on Hacienda Records. (Buy Hooky’s music.)
(FAC251 The Factory, the club on Princess Street which is apparently a joint venture between Peter Hook and Tokyo Industries, seems to exist outside the FAC51 umbrella and has its own website at www.factorymanchester.com. )
I had to wade through most of the site content before I could make these statements with confidence because the site structure is all over the place. New information and history are mixed up willy-nilly. The website attempts to present the idea of “seamless progression” from past to present but there is such a gulf between Factory’s austere style and Peter Hook’s approach that the overall effect is a mish-mash, which screams SELL OUT unfortunately.
Even the “cataloguing system” is half-baked. Some music downloads are assigned numbers (HAC 001, HAC 002, etc) but there are no product numbers allocated to the DJ mixes. The website itself should really have a HAC product number but instead its identity relies upon the Hacienda club’s Factory number FAC51. Peter Hook owns ‘The Name’ and he’s determined to use it.
As an expression of Peter Hook and his associates’ business interests, the website is probably quite functional; but its attempt to resurrect the spirit of Factory’s demolished nightclub utterly fails…
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‘The venue was knocked down to make way for a block of lookalike flats also called The Hacienda. In 2002, Peter Hook did the honours and started the demolition live on Granada Reports.’
From ‘Tony Wilson You’re Entitled To An Opinion…’ by David Nolan, page 158.